Valla Beach futsal player represents Australia in the UK

Annabelle Shelton proudly wears the green and gold.

ONE of the region’s brightest young futsal talents has proudly represented her country overseas.

Annabelle Shelton has represented Australia on a tour of the United Kingdom.

The Valla Beach resident played for her junior Australian team against the best junior teams from England, Scotland, and Wales.

She began her tour in Scotland in the Scossie Cup; a big tournament with ten teams vying for the overall title.

Shelton’s team finished the tournament in third with one win, one loss (to the eventual winners) and eight draws.

She scored her first international goal in their 1-0 win over Glasgow City.

In England, the fourteen-year-old played and trained against much older opponents from Stanground Academy, and got a good feel for how the English playing style differs, with it being a lot more physical.

City of Peterborough FC, a town with a very strong footballing community, were the opponents with her team winning 10-3.

She was named player of the match and scored her first international hat trick.

The final tournament of the tour was the Roy Miller Cup played in Wrexham, Wales.

It was played as a round robin event with four teams in contention.

Shelton’s team won all their games convincingly to claim the trophy, as she scored another hat trick in the final to claim a 6-2 win.

She was awarded her team’s most improved player for the tour.

Throughout the tour she was fortunate enough to train with top quality teams from Reith Rovers in Scotland and Stanground Academy senior girls team, have a coaching session with the Youth Development Programme in England, and also have games against the United FC of Wrexham women’s team.

In addition to playing, she also experienced top-flight football touring Anfield Stadium in Liverpool, and watching Glasgow City vs Celtic play in the Women’s Scottish League.

There she met Jacynta Galabaraarachchi, originally from Australia, who plays midfield for Celtic and was voted the best young player in the Scottish League last year.

Having this tour experience has made her even more determined to play professional football one day and she is back to training hard, often three to four times a week.

She recalled her favourite moments of the UK trip.

“My favourite futsal part was training with the Stanground Academy senior team in England because it was such a big jump in technical ability to play against seventeen and eighteen year olds,” she said.

“Also helping my team win the Roy Miller Cup in Wales was a highlight.

“My non-football highlights were touring Anfield Stadium in Liverpool, and meeting Australian and Celtic FC midfielder Jacynta Galabadaarachchi.”

Currently a Year 8 student at Nambucca Valley Christian Community School, Shelton began her futsal journey as a member of the school’s inaugural girls high school futsal team.

With a strong showing at the Regional Schools Championships, she was chosen for and eventually captained Far Northern NSW at the National Schools Championships in Brisbane.

It was here that the Australian selectors spotted her strong court play and leadership skills.

Shelton will be playing in the Regional Schools Championships again next week with hopes of further selections to come.


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